Recent Work By Justin Pearson

On The Locust’s next tour, we hit the East Coast and managed to get a show at a typical all-day festival featuring one crappy “play on the floor” band after another in the fine town of Who Really Cares, North Carolina. It was a clever mix of straightedge and white trash. We stuck out like a sore thumb—a beaner, a towelhead, and a couple throwbacks. Everyone thought we were total fags. And we were stuck there. We broke into a nearby church and stole a bunch of mics to ease the pain of that long, hot day. I slept in the baptismal tub for a few hours to avoid the blistering heat and humidity. But when it was time to play, it got a lot worse than we expected.

Our set was about four songs long. During the first three songs, the audience was as hostile as they could be. This shithead in front of me kept kicking the mic stand. When I went to sing, it would smack against my teeth and he’d laugh. After the third song, I told him if he did it again, I’d fuck him up. As the next song started, he kicked the mic stand and I headbutted him without missing a beat. When the song was over, I noticed blood on the floor in front of me. His girlfriend was yelling at us. Joey spat at her, Gabe gave us a four count, and we went into another song. But some people in the audience were trying to physically stop us from playing. We decided our set was over. Gabe ran outside to get some fresh air since the missing sound guy could not give us oxygen in the stage monitors. He came back to inform us our van had been vandalized. I threw off my mesh vest and started to charge outside, ready to fight, but Gabe stopped me. Apparently the brother of the guy I had headbutted punched our van’s headlight; his fist broke the glass, which slashed a major artery in his wrist. Blood spewed all over the front of the van, and the paramedics were called. It was probably good that I didn’t make it outside to fight the guy since I was only wearing hot pants and sneakers.

Our roadie went to the van to make sure it wasn’t getting completely destroyed. We packed up our gear, and tried load it into the van through the crowd. By the time we were loaded up—if you can call throwing everything in the back and hoping the doors would close “loading up”—the cops had showed up and started arresting people. There was a police helicopter in the air and police dogs on the ground. People were demanding money back for our merchandise they’d bought. Some even threw the stuff back at us. Everyone was yelling at us, but we weren’t taking their shit.

We managed to pull away from the parking lot without getting arrested or beaten up. On the drive out, a car followed us for a while, but we lost it by running a couple red lights. We ended up at some guy’s apartment in the next town over. We’d become friends with him earlier that day while trying to pass time as the plethora of crummy bands played. We woke up in the morning to find our van’s tire had been slashed. We just changed out the flat with our spare and were on our way. I never understood why someone would only slash one tire. If you really want to be a badass, you should slash all of the tires. But I suppose a badass would have just kicked our asses in person.

The tour was absurdity from there on out. Another show, somewhere upstate New York, was the same old run-of-the-mill mockery from a predictable audience. I knew that we were Jedis when some dickhead talked shit to us before we even played a note and got nowhere. Our lack of response resulted in him spitting on me for no apparent reason. As the spit dripped down my chest onto my mesh vest, I spat back without a thought. Now, this shot I took was without aim, concentration, or hesitation. It was exactly like the part in Star Wars: A New Hope when Luke blew up the Death Star. My spit went straight into this heckler’s mouth as he was leaning back, mouth open, cracking himself up after making a string of dumb comments about our band. I spun around toward my amp, amazed, tense, waiting to get socked in the head. I stood there, only a few feet from this guy, wearing my uniform, which consisted of a mesh vest with reflective stripping, hot pants, goggles, and sneakers. Nothing happened, and I then knew that the four of us Locusts had evolved.

I interview myself everyday, “Where the hell are my keys? What should I have for lunch? Aw man, did the dog crap on the floor?” So I have compiled a few questions for a self-interview…


Have I ever been so fucked up at a show that I forgot the lyrics, bass lines, or drum parts and just made shit up?

Nope. Thank God, Satan, Mother Nature, or whoever, that I never got into something such as a “no brainer” type of band. For the most part, or at least the serious part of my “musical career,” I have had to be pretty coherent to play my part in the music that I was involved in. However once I had my wisdom teeth extracted and was on Vicodin during a show that The Locust played. Fortunately, that was around the beginning of the band when our music was pretty mediocre, if that. But I do recall thinking that I was messed up, and wondered how bad we must have sounded while it was happening.


How do I do what I do and still keep a straight face?

I have no idea.


Having been called a prominent “musician” in some sort of underground/experimental music scene, do I still find artists and bands citing work that I have been part of as an influence to be flattering or empowering, or has it begun to elicit negative reactions?

One thing that I try to be part of is moving forward with art and music. I think if there is any citing of work being done (no need to name names) I tend to just look at it as a bit depressing. For instance seeing a band come off as a second or third rate whatever, and not try to find an original route, or at least a sincere route, just seems like a drag. The weird part is, when this does happen, it’s usually someone cashing in after the fact, sort of like following the blue print to someone’s plans. I do try to move towards being ahead of the curve and trying to steer into uncharted territory in some way, shape, or form whenever possible. With that being said, influence is flattering and I can completely appreciate it when it’s from an avenue that helped lead to something else, something new, or something totally different.


What do you do in your spare time?



I know a lot of musicians or artists that don’t necessarily choose the easy path, but choose a path that compromises their ideals for security. Most of the time it seems to make them happier, but less creative or interesting. You seem to consistently go with the “non-compromise” approach. Do you think you will ever say, “Fuck it, I am tired of this crap?”

No. I would much rather have a resume that I can respect, or at least digest when all is said and done rather than something I cringe at in retrospect. For instance, once I was asked to rap on a rock song. Yes, rap, and political rap at that. Could you imagine that?


How do you feel about people making money off others and not referencing them and/or compensating them?

This sort of thing has happened since capitalism found music. It seems almost like part of human nature at this point in time. If it’s not Elvis, it’s someone else… even people whom I have worked with.


On the Swing Kids’ Discography, the songs don’t seem technically demanding, compared to say, The Locust’s New Erections. Has your technical proficiency advanced over time?

This question can be answered in a few different ways. One, the timeline that the bands material being mentioned here was written spans well over a decade. The Swing Kids stuff was written quite a while ago compared to The Locust’s newer material. Not only that, but the part that I played in each band was entirely different. Two, the people in each given band obviously factors in. One thing I’m aware of is that I have been lucky to have consistently been involved with challenging musicians and therefore, I feel I have continuously evolved in what I am part of, who I work with, and what the given players produce. A good reference of evolution would solely be based on looking at The Locust from the start of the band up to current times. Never has the band repeated itself, never has the band regressed, and even when we progress, we continue on to progress and not stick to one specific formula.


When was the moment that you decided to make music your life’s pursuit, and do you have any regrets in doing so?

I never said to myself that music was going to be a life pursuit, or recognized any starting point as to pursuing it. But I do recall being obsessed with music as early as age five. And then recall a handful of obvious times growing up that sort of steered me in that direction. So looking back, I think it was a few key moments that all pushed me in a direction that I have seem to gone in. As far as regrets, not to sound cliché, but I have no regrets with anything in my life. All the things that one might regret that have made up what my life has become, for me, have been taken in and used as a learning experience. You can’t change life, and as far as I know, I have done my best. So there is really no reason for regret. If I was asked, “have you don’t any stupid shit in your life?” then I would have a completely different answer.


Did you write an autobiography or a memoir? What is the difference?

Honestly, I didn’t consider From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry either. But when the publisher put the tag “memoir” on the back, I wondered if that was correct. Some reviews called it an autobiography, so then I became a bit confused. But I have come the understanding that an autobiography would encompass all or most of my life. So, I’m assuming that I’m too young to pull that off, unless I happen to die really soon. Then it would be an autobiography, I think. Technically, it’s a bunch of short stories put into a proper time line. And technically, I’m not even a writer.


Would a fool defend it?

I’m certain a fool has… fortunately, and unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it.